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New Maidan or military coup within realm of possibility, former Ukrainian lawmaker says

According to Oleg Tsaryov, the situation is now being publicly discussed in Ukraine’s political circles

SIMFEROPOL, December 4./TASS/. Ukraine may be facing a new "Maidan," similar to the mass civil unrest seen in 2013-2014, or an outright military coup driven by a looming crisis at the highest government level, President Vladimir Zelensky’s plummeting approval ratings and the shifting political situation in Western countries, former member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (unicameral parliament) Oleg Tsaryov said.

"The situation in Kiev is very difficult for Zelensky now; this is the reality - the oligarchs don’t need the war. The longer the war goes on, the more devalued their assets become. It is apparently the same for European leaders. Sanctions, Russia, confrontation, loss of money, the upcoming elections in the US," Tsaryov told the Rossiya-24 TV channel.

"Now Zelensky has been left all by himself, with the exception perhaps of Great Britain, and even the British threw out the leadership that had given [Zelensky] personal guarantees. Now he is facing a very difficult situation and a coup is indeed possible," the former legislator said in responding to a question about the possibility of new Maidan-style unrest breaking out or a military coup taking power in Ukraine.

According to Tsaryov, the situation is now being publicly discussed in Ukraine’s political circles, in particular by such political heavyweights as chocolate oligarch and former President (2014-2019) Pyotr Poroshenko, who was Zelensky's rival in the 2019 presidential election; former Prime Minister (2005, 2007-2010) Yulia Timoshenko, who currently holds a seat in the Verkhovna Rada representing the Batkivshchyna party; and Armed Forces of Ukraine Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny, all of whom are seeking to accrue personal benefits amid the political turmoil.

"The political authorities may change as a result of elections, which is difficult now, since Zelensky’s approval rating is still quite high, although lower than that of Zaluzhny. So, there could be both a military coup and a Maidan. In this case, a Maidan is possible, but not necessarily. Currently, it is the military - veterans, generals - who pose a greater threat to Zelensky than any popular unrest or [opposition] politicians," the former lawmaker added.

Zelensky does not have a monopoly on power; Rada members are getting a sense for the situation and are adjusting themselves to it, Tsaryov noted. In his view, it is not all that important whether the presidential election will actually be held and results in the removal of the incumbent president, or whether he will step down on his own soon after getting re-elected.

"It seems to me that, by now, everyone has already realized that Zelensky is a lame duck. It’s kind of a funny situation: recently, Zelensky's wife came out and said that she doesn't want him to run for a second term. So, here we have yet another reason for him not to run," the politician said.

Among the reasons for Zelensky not to seek re-election, Tsaryov cited: "low approval rating, no more support from the US, lack of support among the oligarchs, and now here’s one more - his own wife won’t let him run."